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Shabbat Parashat Bamidbar| 5771

Parashat Hashavuah: The Day of Unification (Not Only of Yerushalayim)

Harav Yosef Carmel

The day of celebrating the unification of Yerushalayim and its return to the status of a “city that was united together” (Tehillim 122:2) requires a look at the unification of the Nation of Israel and the reaching of consensus on certain matters. Let us do so with a look at what preceded the original declaration of Yerushalayim as our eternal capital.

As David was preparing to turn Yerushalayim into the center of a nation that had thrown off the yoke of the Philistines, the following event transpired. The tribes of Israel came to Chevron (David’s capital for seven years) and said: “We are your bones and your flesh. Both yesterday and the previous day, when Shaul was king, you took us out to battle, and Hashem said: ‘You will shepherd My nation, Israel’” (Shmuel II, 5:1-2). What messages were behind these declarations, and what can we learn from them for future generations?

The first idea in these p’sukim borrows a phrase from what Adam said about Chava, that she came from his bones and flesh. This is a reference, then, to the people’s acceptance of David as one whom Jews are allowed to marry. After all, there was a major debate whether female Moavite converts and their descendants, including David, who came from Ruth, could marry into the Jewish community (see Devarim 23:4). The matter was only resolved when Amasa ben Yeter related a tradition from Shmuel’s court that the prohibition applied only to male converts (Yevamot 77a). The tribes’ statement confirmed their acceptance of this ruling.

The declaration about David’s former role was a confirmation that they did not view David to have been rebellious against the former king, Shaul. David was adored by the people, including the women who composed the song about how his conquests exceeded Shaul’s, a song that was known even by the servants of King Achish of the Philistines (see Shmuel II, 21:12). The consensus of David’s acceptance by the people joined up with the halachic consensus about his acceptability as part and parcel of society.

The third declaration was that David was chosen by Hashem. This could be based on the fact that Shmuel anointed him. Even though this was originally done clandestinely, to not arouse Shaul’s vengeance, it is possible that subsequently it became public knowledge. It is also possible that the Divine Providence that seemed to shine positively on David’s activities convinced the people that Hashem was behind him (see Ramban to Devarim 17:15).

In our generation, the great miracles that surrounded the great victory that prompted Motta Gur’s famous call, “The Temple Mount is in our hands,” came about after the political parties in Israel united to form a national unity government and Jews around the world rallied behind us. Our continued success in the struggle to unite the city in all aspects depends on the unity of the people with each other, both religiously and socially. Let us act to bring success in these matters.

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